Do you know someone who seems to be struggling with life?
If a friend or family member does not appear to be coping too well, they may be struggling with mental health issues and might need some help.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be done and organisations that can provide support.
What is mental health and why is it important?
Good mental health is important. This is not just so we can get through the day, but so we can form healthy relationships with others, and fully enjoy and appreciate life. If someone's mental health is suffering, they may find it hard to cope with the demands of daily life. Worse still, they may be at risk of self-harm, or in extreme cases, even suicide.
Mental health should always be taken seriously. If you know someone experiencing mental health issues, reaching out to help them could be the best thing you can do.
Common mental health issues
However, ongoing mental health issues can be a sign of a mental illness. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, have a bigger impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviour than other mental health issues.
Some of the most common mental illnesses are:
How to help someone with a mental illness
If you are concerned that a friend or family member may be suffering from a mental illness, you might like to try talking to them about it. Mental health is not necessarily an easy or comfortable topic of conversation, so it may help to first find out how to talk to someone about mental health..
You can also suggest that they talk to their doctor or see a mental health professional. It may help if you offer to go with them. If they do not want to speak with someone, you might try giving them some written information, like a printout from a trusted and credible website (such as those listed below).
Where to get help
If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:
- MindSpot (anyone suffering from anxiety or depression) — call 1800 61 44 34.
- Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
- Black Dog Institute (people affected by depression and extreme mood swings) — online help.
- Lifeline (anyone experiencing a crisis or thinking about suicide) — call 13 11 14 or chat online.
- Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.
It’s also important to look after yourself. It can be difficult to support someone who is experiencing a mental health issue and this can affect your health and wellbeing. Talk to your doctor or the services will also be helpful.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2019